Appearing Sunday on ABC News’ The Week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ billionaire-status is partly due to paying his workers “starvation wages.”
The e-commerce giant on Monday dismissed the New York Democrat’s criticism, tweeting: “@AOC is just wrong. Amazon is a leader on pay at $15 min wage + full benefits from day one. We also lobby to raise federal min wage.”
A partial transcript is as follows:
JONATHAN KARL: You have suggested that an economic system that has billionaires is immoral. Let me just ask you, if you had a true progressive program put in place, would Jeff Bezos still be a billionaire in five years, ten years from now?
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think, for me, I spend less time thinking about Jeff Bezos and I spend more time thinking about Amazon warehouse workers. I think about the outcomes I want for those folks. Whether Jeff Bezos is a billionaire or not is less of my concern than if your average Amazon worker is making a living wage, if they have guaranteed healthcare, and if they can send their kids to college tuition-free. And if that’s the case and Jeff Bezos is still a billionaire, that’s one thing, but if him being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access health care, and also if his ability to be a billionaire is predicated on the fact that his workers take food stamps, so I’m paying for him to be a billionaire —
KARL: But do you think that’s why he’s a billionaire because he pays his workers starvation wages?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think it’s certainly a part of the equation when you have a very large workforce and you underpay every single person and then you participate in taking billions of dollars in government subsidies, that could be part of it. But, if he’s willing to give up all of his government subsidies, if we’re willing to charge fair taxes, if we’re willing to pay people a living wage, send people to college tuition-free, guarantee everyone healthcare, and he’s still a billionaire, that’s a fight we can have another day.